How to Build a Stellar Brand and Rock the Social Media Ecosystem

In a vast and diverse online landscape, there are many channels and tools to explore. In the midst of all the digital hustle and bustle, major social platforms stand as real giants. From their shoulders, brands can extend their reach and make their messages resonate with a global audience.

Indeed, many businesses have managed to work miracles with their social media accounts. They became globally recognizable and have enhanced their bottom line in the process. But, make no mistake that this is a huge endeavor. Namely, one has to find a way to form a killer strategy and execute it in order to stand out among cohorts of competitive brands.

A tumultuous social age

Social media platforms are a next big business frontier. Consumers flock there to casually share and comment, but also interact with brands and get to know their human face. This creates immense opportunities to engage and delight. Of course, making it happen is much easier said than done. It requires a rock-solid strategy and a long-term commitment.

One of the first things to figure out is which network to pick as a distribution channel. You might want to use more than one but bear in mind that spreading yourself too thin is not the best idea, especially if you’re working with limited resources. The basic rule is simple: You have to be present on hubs that your target audience frequents.

An angle of approach

A thorough research is the cornerstone of your branding strategy. It allows you to tell in advance, with relative certainty, whether your campaigns will hit the mark or not. Just be aware that adults aged 18-34 are the most likely to follow a brand via social media (96%). So, if you cater to the older population, you might want to think twice before investing in branding there.

In general, networks with the largest user base (like Facebook and Twitter) offer an unparalleled reach and should be considered first. Then again, there are some niche platforms that could make sense in terms of what you do and industry sector you operate in. Likewise, image-heavy networks such as Pinterest and Instagram are a great marketing landscape to dispense your product photos and other visual assets.

Name of the social game

In any event, once you weigh all the pros and cons and identify the best channel, come up with a game plan on how to engage the audience there. To get inspired, you can take lessons from some of the best thought-out campaigns out there. They all have something in common: a deep understanding that modern businesses must add value to the lives of the customers.

Moreover, established brands are well aware that social media profiles pose powerful customer service tools. They provide around-the-clock support and display impressive responsiveness. Also, they keep up to date with prominent trends such as the surge in mobile usage. There were 2.56 billion of global social media users who accessed those networks via mobile devices in 2017. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance to tailor the experience to their wants and needs.

Coming on top

There are some other trends that enable your brand to get into the limelight. Visual content reigns supreme: it is 40 times more likely to be shared than other types of content. So, ramp up your image and video production capacities. Quality content is an integral part of all good campaigns. Just make sure to produce a regular stream of it in accordance with your content calendar.

Furthermore, note that, although people discuss brands quite a lot, 96% of users does not actually follow brand-owned accounts. This is to say that businesses have to get creative and navigate around the distrust or weariness that users tend to exhibit towards businesses. The trick is to look beyond your corporate channels and launch campaigns that deviate from the traditional advertising logic.

Stay vigilant

Next, let us address one thing that often gets overlooked: keeping track of key performance indicators is vital. In other words, implement a robust social media monitoring strategy. Monitor non-branded conversations for brand mentions. Evaluate your engagement rates and how many social signals you generate. Actively manage brand health at all times. Stay flexible and adjust your strategy should it fail to bear fruit.

This may seem like a daunting task, but rest assured that social media branding pays rich dividends in the long run.

Around 71% of customers who have had a positive experience with a brand recommends it to others. Hence, you have a chance to make the most of word-of-mouth promotion and spread awareness far and wide.  Finally, remember that social signals, although not an official ranking factor, do affect your position in the search engine result pages (SERPs).

Polishing the competitive edge

Social media networks are major public arenas for brand-building. Before diving in, you need to test the digital waters and use acquired insights to create targeted campaigns.

Create a branded environment where customers feel appreciated and valued. Keep an eye on trends to stay on top of the game. Learn how to tell an engaging story and social media user people in. This should enable you to build lasting foundations of trust with your existing customers and win new people over at the same time.

Carry out branding with the maximum marketing impact: Get the word out there and cut through the marketing noise like a knife through hot butter.

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How Can Good SEO Help Potential Customers Find Your Startup?

SEO might not be fast or easy, but it’s still necessary in today’s business world. And if you’re just starting your business, it’s definitely worth your time.

It will allow you to generate new leads, attract new customers and ultimately, increase sales by boosting your visibility in search engines. But let’s start from the beginning.

What exactly is SEO?

In short, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and many people consider it the main digital tactic companies use to attract new customers online.

The first thing you need to know about SEO is that it isn’t a short-term tactic. It’s better described as a “collection of tactics” that you can use to improve your presence on the Internet.

Search engines – we’ll mostly be taking about Google, since it holds more than 90% of search market share – rank sites based on their relevance and quality.

You can use SEO to improve your rankings by optimizing your site and using certain tactics that Google deems useful for users. Now let’s take a look at how SEO can help small businesses attract new audiences.

SEO for small-to-mid-size businesses

If you opt for SEO, your main goal should be to use a number of different tactics to improve your rankings. Search engine visibility is crucial for your success, since most customers research their purchases on the Internet before they make a decision.

As we said, SEO is a collection of strategies and techniques that work together as a part of your overall marketing strategy. Its main aim is to improve your position in organic search results – not paid results, that’s a completely different thing – and some of the most important SEO strategies include:

  • UX and site architecture
  • Content creating and marketing
  • Social media marketing
  • Analytics and keyword research
  • Link building and outreach

Before we start talking about these tactics in more detail, let’s see why this is so important for your business and what results you can expect from a successful SEO strategy.

Why is SEO important for your site?

In this day and age, a small business lives and dies by its marketing efforts and as we established before, SEO is an important part of online marketing efforts.

Look at it like this, if a potential customer can’t find your site on Google, you practically don’t exist to that customer. And if you think SEO is only important at the moment, you’re terribly wrong.

The practice has been around for more than two decades at this point and according to Market Dive research, more than 80% of marketers see SEO as becoming even more effective in the future.

How to create a successful SEO strategy

The main goal of any SEO strategy is to generate more leads and increase your customer base in the process, not just increase your rank in Google. If you want to do things properly, it would be smart to hire an SEO consultant company. Preferably a reputable one, like this New York based SEO company.

If not, you can actually try do everything on your own. However, you have to be prepared for a ton of work and mistakes along the way.

  • On-site SEO tactics:  Every piece of content on your website, from blog posts to images, needs to be properly optimized for Google, or any other search engine you plan on focusing on.
  • Off-site SEO tactics: Link building is one of the main aspects of off-page SEO and it includes reaching out to various sites and influencers who might find your site and content useful.
  • Mobile-friendliness: A vast majority of people today browse the Internet on their mobile devices. That’s why you need to optimize your site for mobile and make sure that everything works perfectly on all devices.  

Of course, tracking your SEO campaigns is always time-consuming and at times, it can be quite stressful. So, if you want to track the performance of your SEO activities, you should try using a professional digital marketing dashboard that will give you a view of how all your marketing activities are performing.

Conclusion

In the end, you’re probably wondering how much all of this will cost you. This is a tricky question, because the line between digital marketing and SEO is pretty thin. Some companies out there are even combing their marketing budgets with their SEO budgets.

In order to determine how much you should spend on search engine optimization, here are a couple of questions you should ask yourself:

  • How much do you expect to make this year?
  • What’s your chosen industry?
  • How many competitors do you really have?

If you’re able to set aside around five percent of your overall revenue for long-term SEO efforts, you’ll definitely be able to see an increase in sales during the first year of your business venture.

How HR Continues To Evolve, Technologically and Politically

How HR Continues To Evolve, Technologically and Politically

Changes in human resources are driven by a number of overlapping factors, including the demographics of both the workplace and surrounding society; political climate and legislation coming out of it; and the development of new technology.

The rise of tech startups have created a lot of change in business communities and shifted the expectations of employees. Add breakthroughs in cloud services and management software, and authentication into the mix, and it’s easy to see how the tech boom has had a major effect on the procedures and culture of HR.

Hiring and Interview

Finding job seekers is getting easier and easier. On the other hand, as easy as job sites like Indeed and social networks like LinkedIn have made posting ads, they’ve also allowed a larger number of job seekers to respond.

Recruiters and hiring managers must deal with a much greater volume of applicants if they choose to make use of internet job postings. The benefit is that it’s easier to find the right candidate. LinkedIn and resume upload sites have made it especially easy for savvy HR professionals to target the skills they’re looking for and search for candidates more intentionally.

On the interview side, things are changing too. Skype and other video and voice-over IP apps are making remote interviews a more robust and common process. Being able to interview over long distances is exposing recruiters to talent from far-flung places. 43 percent of Americans say they spend at least some time working remotely, according to The New York Times. Remote work is changing office environments, and it’s changing the way companies hire, giving them access to employees hundreds or thousands of miles away.

Company Culture

The hiring process is closely related to company culture, but it’s an idea that goes far beyond the initial hire.

This is where the tech startup world has made a huge influence. “Company culture” has almost achieved buzzword status in job ads. Both prospective job seekers and employers are putting a heavy emphasis on “fitting in” with the company culture.

This has come with advantages and disadvantages. Tech companies in particular have shown how “culture” can be taken way too far. There have been a number of high-profile cases where culture has been used to justify abuse, inaction, or discrimination.

Company culture is a powerful and popular tool to ensure that businesses and employees truly make the most of their personnel. Every work environment is different, and hiring an employee with the right skills but the wrong demeanor can be more damaging than hiring someone who needs extra training.

Contracts and Consent

One of the biggest developments in recent years has been the ability to handle contracts, compliance, performance reviews, consent forms, and anything else that people need to sign digitally. HR departments have been leveraging digital signatures to streamline and more effectively track important documents.

Paperwork that can be signed electronically can be carefully controlled and tracked. A performance review can be signed in order, first by the employee, then by their manager, and added to their digital record without any printing, scanning, or physical transportation. The process becomes shorter and easier to track.

Timestamps recorded on electronic signatures are more accurate, and the digitizing process is better for privacy and compliance because control is kept of the document at all times. It’s easy to track who has access to it. Signing something electronically may not feel very safe, but electronic signatures are built of digital signature technology which provides encryption and verification, making the whole process very secure.

Communications Technology

Some companies are choosing to adopt high-tech communications technology within their workplaces as a way to improve efficiency of both employees and HR processes.

Chat applications are one way that companies improve communication, letting employees interact with each other and their managers in real time to discuss topics or pose questions that they wouldn’t ordinarily interrupt one another with.

Another high-tech communications solution comes with digital signage that HR can leverage to cut down on emails, poster printing, and newsletter composition. Announcements of events, important legal updates or performance metrics can instead be simultaneously displayed across a number of devices. That way, employees have information available at a glance without having to open a distracting email whenever there’s a company announcement.

Safety and Compliance

Workplace safety has changed a lot over the years. From the days of steelworkers clambering unassisted on top of skyscrapers and employees handling asbestos, the law and cultural attitudes about safety have made dramatic turns. So too is it with liability surrounding legal rights of employees, such as overtime laws and “theft of employee time”.

One of the biggest changes has been the uptick in retroactive legal action against companies that engaged in unsafe and unlawful practices. Though HR teams were always tasked with compliance and liability limitation, as lawsuits become more prevalent and potentially damaging, Human Resource’s role in protecting the company, and by proxy the company’s employees, has been magnified in recent years.

HR departments work tirelessly to create inclusive, safe workspaces that don’t discriminate or place employees in unsafe situations without a reasonable notice and acceptance of risk. Digital tools are making this process easier and will continue to influence the shape of human resources as we discover new ways to track, authenticate, and communicate.

7 Tools That Will Help You Start a Home-Based Business

The traditional method used to start a business was to rent an office space and get down to work. However, the overhead associated with supporting an office right from the start was challenging and even detrimental in many cases.

The good news is that technology has evolved over the years to make it much more functional and practical to run a home-based business and even to grow your business substantially in a cost-effective way. As wonderful as running a home-based business can be, keep in mind that there are still obstacles that you will need to face and overcome.

Here are several effective tools that can help you better manage and grow your home-based business.

Basecamp

Whether you want to keep yourself focused on relevant tasks for practical efficiency or you are trying to manage a remote team in the most time-efficient way possible, Basecamp can help.

This app is an excellent resource for planning and scheduling, organization, accountability and more. You may never have to worry about meetings taking too much time or missing deadlines when you and your team maximize the benefits that Basecamp can provide.

Google Hangouts

As soon as you add your first remote employee to your team, you need to find an effective way to communicate. Google Hangouts gives you text and voice communications in one platform. There is even a video communication feature.

You can use it on your desktop and mobile devices seamlessly so that you never miss important communications with your remote team. Logs of conversations are also maintained to help everyone remain accountable. Because this is a free tool that you can start using immediately, it is ideal for small businesses that have two or more workers.

Freshbooks

Small business owners can spend an incredible amount of time on financial management and accounting tasks. However, this is an area that you need to excel at if you want to properly manage your money, budget for growth and more.

Freshbooks is a user-friendly application that has robust capabilities. It’s a perfect choice for managing your home-based business’ finances. It has easy functions for invoicing, tracking payments, creating reports and more. Because it is designed for small business operations, you may find that it has more applicable features that are relevant to your specific situation.

Wagepoint

Processing payroll each week can be time-consuming and stressful. This is a task that needs to be completed within a specified amount of time, and you can’t afford to make costly mistakes.

Wagepoint is designed to help small business owners simplify this task in an affordable way. It also ensures compliance with all relevant government agencies and can help you to process tax forms and more. Employees can even access their own compensation information to save you additional time when questions arise.

Close.io

Sales is a critical component to most small businesses. You understandably need to track leads and follow up with all potential customers in a timely manner, but you also need to close deals.

Close.io is a CRM tool that is designed specifically for small businesses like yours. You can manage conversations and email messages so that you never drop the ball. You can also set reminders, create reports and more in one convenient and streamlined platform. With applications available for multiple users, you can easily track the efforts of your growing sales team as well.

CoSchedule

Effective marketing for your small business requires you to create and execute a detailed, robust marketing plan in a timely manner. With CoSchedule all aspects of communications about your marketing plan can be stored in one convenient location. You can create marketing materials within this platform, manage your marketing team and create an on-going marketing calendar so that you never miss a beat.

Remember that timely delivery of marketing content is critical to generating superior results. Because this is a collaborate solution, your entire team will stay organized and aligned.

Groove

Customer service is essential for your customer satisfaction rating, loyalty, future sales, brand reputation and more. Groove helps you to streamline many aspects of your customer service activities.

For example, through this platform, your agents can create tickets based on phone calls, social media posts, email and more. You can track the tickets, analyze them and ensure that everything is tended to in a timely manner. This is an excellent tool that can help you and your team to stay on track so that nothing slips through the cracks.

Final Thoughts

Handling all aspects of your business operations properly and efficiently requires considerable effort, but you do not need to handle tasks manually. Technology is now available that can streamline and simplify many aspects of your operations from day one. Regardless of whether you have a one-man shop or a growing small business with several employees, these exceptional tools are wonderful resources that you can begin implementing right away.

How Good Web Design Can Boost Your Business

How Good Web Design Can Boost Your Business

Whether as a striking web page, or a persuasive package, design can have a powerful impact on the world around us. The craft and creativity of web and graphic designers are practically everywhere – from books, product packaging, to websites, digital advertisements, and interactive installations. However, effective design is not just mere appearance. It’s a way to communicate in a contemporary way, to make everything – from logo, colours, to typography, and visuals work together by and large to capture the attention of potential customers and leave an abiding impression.

To be seen in the digital media you can use marketing technology, which offers several ways for boosting the business. However, first and foremost, it is imperative to build a website that brings information about the company, which is simple enough to find via all mobile devices as well as on desktop browsers. Also, while launching your website, you need to ensure you can answer these questions with a “YES”: Is your website easy to navigate? Are your website visitors able to understand what your business is about? Do you maintain high-quality services at a competitive price rate?

If your answer is “No” to all, then you need to improve your website design and layout, because a business owner should not only focus on content or design. What is more, an entrepreneur needs to advance the design, performance and, above all, make sure the web design is responsive. Experts from Web Agency Sydney point out that you need to improve its reach in order to grow your customer base, no matter the size of your business. Luckily, there are hundreds of options to boost your web designing part. We bring you some of these options to help you start.

Simplicity & Minimalism

Web design always opts for the most uncomplicated approach and gives importance to minimalism. Your target audience will not be attracted by a complex design, while the clean and flat design will strike the right nerve. Nowadays, most brands are using simple designs in their online business presence. Therefore, if you wish to improve your options, you should, by all means, avoid stuffing your website with long and complicated animations as well as with bulky website images. Additionally, you should keep in mind that an extravagant website may slack off your website.

Visual Appeal

More than anything, visual appeal can attract attention. It is the key to attain visitors, which will engage with your website. Captivating images and videos enhance the business operation and invite more customers. Some studies show that for users to form an opinion about a website takes about 50 milliseconds. In those milliseconds they are able to determine whether they’ll stay or leave. And, due to the fact that visual aids are 43% more effective in enhancing your credibility than other means, you should think of creating a catchy business logo (if not already) and visually appealing colors, which will help your brand stand out from the crowd.

Do the Thinking

Visitors are coming to your website to solve an issue they might have. Hence, your business website should provide the answer to their question as quickly and as easily as possible. You also need to show your visitors what they are looking for and what value it has for them. Why should they choose to make a purchase from your website? Is there a special offer? Make sure you follow your wording by a clearly visible call-to-action, such as “Find the right product, now!” The users should not try to figure out anything on their own. You need to do it for them.

Relevant Content

Every so often you should consider refreshing the content of your homepage and landing pages. It is the same story as with store window display, consumers don’t like to see the same thing time and again. You can immediately convey the relevant message and become up-to-the-minute retailer by freshening the offerings with some new deals, sales, and new content. On top of that, you should also take into account how important it is to provide your visitors with the ability to share your content. In that way, you will grant them the possibility to become your brand’s biggest marketing emissaries. Furthermore, your ranking on search engine result pages may greatly enhance with the sharing of your content.

There are no other mediums that have such a geographical reach than the website. And, if you do not have a clean, simple and functional design, then your competitors are surely winning your prospective customers. Being that you need to calculate your expenses and budget while developing a striking website you should reach out to a reputable web design company to provide you with an extensive number of business web design services. The website not only boosts your brand’s look, it also makes it alluring and impressive.

The Importance of Social Media for Landscaping Businesses

The Importance of Social Media for Landscaping Businesses

Social media has had a significant impact on the way businesses operate online. While running a website is still the cornerstone of online presence for many companies, it is becoming increasingly important to utilize social media in any serious online promotion strategy. Landscaping companies are not an exception in this regard. Implementing a social media marketing campaign is vital for promoting services such as landscaping, which used to rely on traditional marketing to reach new customers.

Although setting up a social media profile for a company is fairly easy, reaping the full benefits of social media marketing requires time and effort. To achieve maximum impact in the shortest amount of time, landscaping businesses need to understand the specific advantages of social media promotion, and how to best leverage them when developing their online business strategy. The following article will highlight the key aspects of social media marketing every landscaping company should take into account before engaging in social media marketing.

Benefits of social media

Social media promotion works by adding another layer of complexity to traditional marketing. Here is what you need to know.

1. Product Marketing

The most direct way to using social media to promote your business is by introducing your goods and services to users. Think of your social media page as a catalog of that you can update in real time. For example, whenever your company starts offering a new kind of garden layout, this new product should be announced with a social media post. Make sure to include the description of the product, its possible uses, its price, and at least a single picture. Social media users should get all the information they need to make a purchase if they’re in the market for the type of product you are selling.

2. Brand Awareness

In addition to advertising particular products, companies need to work on promoting their brand as a whole. The goal here is to form an association between the company name and a specific idea. A landscaping company like Oztech would, for example, highlight their expertise in awning, making sure to reinforce this idea throughout their social media channel. Using slogans, logos, and other company identifiers is a key component of establishing brand awareness in visitors.

3. Online Word of Mouth

While maintaining a social media presence requires constant work on the part of the company, this does not mean that promotion is wholly reliant on direct advertising. Social media sites are by definition places for discussion. Establishing a social media presence for your company enables it to become a part of the online conversation, giving it another promotion vector. If people online are talking about your company, you stand a much greater chance of reaching the target audience for your products. The goal is that whenever there is a conversation about landscape design, horticulture or earth removal, your companies name is on people’s lips.

4. Search Engine Optimization

The content you produce for your social media profile has one additional use – it can be reused on your website as well. This is important because content is a key component of optimizing your search engine rankings. Specifically, by using targeted keywords throughout your social media posts, you are establishing a regular source of SEO content, which you can then host on the company blog or website. The more content you have, the more likely your company is to become eligible for long-tail keywords relating to landscaping, which have a greater impact on conversions.

Social media platform overview

Each social network has the potential to benefit a landscaping business in different ways. Here are the three major platforms every company should use to their best advantage.

1. Facebook

Facebook is the one network you should be using by default. The sheer size of its userbase guarantees that even a minimal investment in social media marketing can bring tangible benefits to any sort of company, including landscaping oriented ones. As a platform, Facebook gives companies the tools to promote themselves through multiple kinds of content, including text, images, video, ads, online communities, and more.

2. Linkedin

Maintaining a Linkedin profile is essential for establishing connection with other businesses related to landscaping. Arranging cross-promotion deals with these companies is an important step for taking your online marketing strategy to the next level. Linkedin is a great source of business-related information as well, offering guides, statistics, and advice from industry leaders.

3. Instagram

When it comes to image-based promotion, Instagram is the top player in the market. By posting quality images to your company profile, you are establishing yourself as an online taste-maker, which attracts aesthetically minded people. These individuals potentially have a large number of followers, so appealing to them gives your business greater viral marketing potential.

Q & A with David Green | The HR Tech Weekly®

People Analytics Is Core to the Future of the HR Function: Q&A with David Green

People Analytics Is Core to the Future of the HR Function

Today our guest is David Green, a true globally respected and award winning writer, speaker, conference chair and executive consultant on people analytics, data-driven HR and the future of work.

David is the Global Director, People Analytics Solutions at IBM Watson Talent. He is also the longstanding Chair, of the Tucana People Analytics conference series, the next edition of which – the People Analytics Forum, takes place in London on 29-30 November.

David has spoken at conferences and/or worked with people analytics leaders in over 20 cities in the past year including San Francisco, Sydney, London, Paris, Singapore, New York, Amsterdam, Moscow and Berlin. This affords David with a unique perspective and insight into what’s working, what’s not, and what’s forthcoming in the field of people analytics.

The interview is hosted by Alexey Mitkin, Founder, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief, The HR Tech Weekly® Online Media Co.

1. Hi David, and first of all thank you very much for this interview with The HR Tech Weekly®. The year of 2017 is approaching its end. What made a difference this year in the field of people management and HR technologies?

Thanks Alexey, it is a pleasure to speak with you. For me, 2017 has been a pivotal year in the field as the realisation that people analytics is core to the future of the HR function has become far more widespread. In one of his recent articles (see here), Josh Bersin described people analytics “as the lynchpin of success for HR in the next few years”, and I have to say I completely agree – although that probably doesn’t surprise you!

We still have some way to go in terms of widespread adoption and just as importantly in embedding analytics and data-driven decision making within organisational culture, but the acceptance that this is core rather than peripheral is a welcome momentum shift.

Elsewhere, the move from many companies to develop programs and technologies that personalise the candidate/employee experience in areas such as talent acquisition, onboarding, learning and mobility is also positive. It’s about time that we have rich and personalised experiences at work similar to those we already enjoy as consumers. Data and analytics plays a foundational role in this.

2. People analytics is an area of profound interest to business leaders. What do you see as the main trends in the people analytics space?

You are right to highlight the heightened interest levels in people analytics Alexey. I’d summarise the main trends as follows:

  • More and more organisations getting started with people analytics – 2017 seems to have been the year that the talking about when to start analytics stopped and the actual hard work in creating capability began for many organisations. So, the number of organisations in the early stages of their people analytics journeys is on the increase and many will face similar challenges in terms of data quality, skills and capabilities, stakeholder management/education and project prioritisation. Our recent IBM Smarter Workforce Institute research on HR Analytics Readiness in Europe demonstrated though that most organisations still have a long way to go.
  • Developing an analytical culture: this is key for organisations that want to develop sustainable capability in people analytics. This means exciting, equipping and enabling HR Business Partners, and clearly demonstrating and communicating the impact of people analytics initiatives within the organisation. This is the focus of many companies that have built initial capability and success in people analytics.
  • Ethics and privacy concerns: this continues to be the most important and challenging aspect for practitioners. Research from Insight222 reveals that 81% of people analytics projects are jeopardised by ethical and privacy concerns. With the EU GDPR legislation coming into effect in May 2018 and the emergence of new employee data sources, focus on this area will continue to be high.
  • The consumerisation of HR – as per my earlier point, many organisations that have developed people analytics capability are looking at ways to understand and improve the employee experience. In addition to the personalised machine-learning based technologies referenced earlier, this includes efforts to understand and analyse employee sentiment. You can’t do either of these things without analytics so those organisations that have already developed people analytics capability are in pole position to take advantage here.
  • Organisational network analysis (ONA) – interest in ONA has exploded in 2017 as organisations seek to better understand team effectiveness and productivity. Practitioners interested in this burgeoning area of people analytics should check out the work of Rob Cross, recent articles by Josh Bersin and vendors like TrustSphere, Humanyze and Worklytics. Expect interest in this area to continue to soar in 2018.

3. On the eve of People Analytics Forum 2017 could you slightly open the curtain on what makes an ideal agenda in modern HR analytics, workforce planning and employees insights then?

I always enjoy chairing the Tucana People Analytics World and People Analytics Forum events as the agenda is always cognisant of the fact that the diversity of delegates in terms of where they are with analytics varies widely. As such, the three tracks: Start (for those getting started), Grow (for those building capability and looking for deeper insight) and Advance (for advanced practitioners and those exploring new data sources) means there is something for everyone. This is hugely important as in my experience the people analytics community is highly collaborative and there is a mutual desire amongst practitioners for shared learning. The Tucana events provide this in spades.

4. It was heard that some attendees of conferences recently formed a viewpoint that the slow adoption of analytics has been because of a lack of practical cases delivered by speakers. Your point of view on the problem will be of great influence.

I haven’t really heard this viewpoint from many. I would argue the contrary in fact that most of the conferences I attend feature numerous and diverse case studies from practitioners. I think you need a balance of speakers from the practitioner, consultant, vendor and analyst communities as each provides a slightly different perspective – indeed much of the innovation in the space is coming from the vendor community. As such, at the conferences I chair, speak and attaned there is normally much to inspire delegates whatever their maturity level when it comes to people analytics. Of course, there is a distinction between being inspired and immitation as each organisation faces different business challenges and has unique cultures. If I could offer one piece of advice to practitioners, whatever their maturity level, it is to channel their efforts on the key business challenges that have the biggest impact within their organisations.

5. What new data-driven HR solutions are on your watchlist and why?

As I mentioned before much of the innovation in the people analytics space is coming from the vendor community and I always recommend to practitioners to keep abreast of the latest developments here. Data-driven companies to look at include: TrustSphere, Alderbrooke Group, Aspirant, Glint, Visier, Crunchr, Workometry, Peakon, OrgVue, Headstart, Worklytics, Humanyze, Qlearsite, One Model, hiQ Labs, Cultivate and StarLinks; and those are just the ones I can remember off the top of my head!

If you’ll forvive the self-promotion, I would like to add that IBM is also doing some groundbreaking work in this space through bringing Watson to HR, particularly in the talent acquisition and the employee experience areas – see more here.

6. What advice would you give to HR professionals looking to boost their careers within the people analytics space?

Well, firstly you should get yourself along to the People Analytics Forum and read my articles on LinkedIn!

Seriously, analytics is a core capability for the future HR practitioner and it won’t be long before the likes of CIPD and SHRM build this into their educational programs. Until then, find some courses (like the Wharton School course on Coursera), attend some conferences, read some books (like The Power of People and the Basic Principles of People Analytics), and seek to learn from analytics professionals both in and outside of HR.

For me, HR is one of the most exciting places in business to work in at the moment and the increased use of analytics and data-driven decision making is one of the reasons why I believe this to be the case.

How to find the right candidate for a job?

Finding the right job candidates is one of the biggest recruiting challenges. Recruiters and other HR professionals that don’t use best recruiting strategies are often unable to find high-quality job applicants. With all the changes and advances in HR technologies, new recruiting and hiring solutions have emerged. Many recruiters are now implementing these new solutions to become more effective and productive in their jobs.

According to Recruitment strategies report 2017 done by GetApp, the biggest recruiting challenge in 2017 was the shortage of skilled candidates.

The process of finding job candidates has changed significantly since few years ago. Back then, it was enough to post a job on job boards and wait for candidates to apply. Also called “post and pray” strategy.

Today, it is more about building a strong Employer Branding strategy that attracts high quality applicants for hard-to-fill roles. Today, it is more about building a strong Employer Branding strategy that attracts high quality applicants for hard-to-fill roles.

Steps for finding the right job candidates

1. Define your ideal candidate a.k.a candidate persona 

Not knowing who your ideal candidate, or candidate persona, is, will make finding one impossible. To be able to attract and hire them, you need to know their characteristics, motivations, skills and preferences.

Defining a candidate persona requires planning and evaluation. The best way is to start from your current talent starts or your best employees. Learn more about their personalities, preferences, motivations and characteristics. Use these findings to find similar people for your current and future job openings.

Not sure how to do this? Here’s our free guide for defining your candidate persona.

2. Engage your current employees

You probably already know that your current employees are your best brand ambassadors. Same as current product users are best ambassadors for product brands. Their word of mouth means more than anyone else’s. Encourage their engagement and let them communicate their positive experiences to the outside. Remember, your employees are your best ambassadors, and people trust people more than brands, CEO and other C-level executives.

Involving your current employees can not only help you build a strong Employer Branding strategy, but it can also help your employees feel more engaged and satisfied with their jobs.

3. Write a clear job descriptions

Even though many recruiters underestimate this step, it is extremely important to do it right! Writing a clear and detailed job description plays a huge role in finding and attracting candidates with a good fit. Don’t only list duties, responsibilities and requirements, but talk about your company’s culture and Employee Value Proposition.

To save time, here are our free job description templates.

4. Streamline your efforts with a Recruitment Marketing tool

If you have right tools, finding the right job candidates is much easier and faster than without them. Solutions offered by recruitment marketing software are various, and with them you can build innovative recruiting strategies such as Inbound Recruiting and Candidate Relationship Management to improve Candidate Experience and encourage Candidate Engagement.

Sending useful, timely and relevant information to the candidates from your talent pool is a great way for strengthening your Employer Brand and communicating your Employee Value Proposition.

5. Optimize your career site to invite visitors to apply

When candidates want to learn about you, they go to your career site. Don-t loose this opportunity to impress them. Create content and look that reflects your company’s culture, mission and vision. Tell visitors about other employees success and career stories.

You can start by adding employee testimonials, fun videos, introduce your team, and write about cool project that your company is working on.

Don’t let visitors leave before hitting “Apply Now” button.

6. Use a recruiting software with a powerful sourcing tool

Today, there are powerful sourcing tools that find and extract candidates profiles. They also add them directly to your talent pool. Manual search takes a lot of time and effort, and is often very inefficient. With a powerful sourcing tool, you can make this process much faster, easier and more productive. These tools help you find candidates that match both the position and company culture.

7. Use an Applicant Tracking System

Solutions offered by applicant tracking systems are various, but their main purpose is to fasten and streamline the selections and hiring processes. By fastening the hiring and selection process, you can significantly improve Candidate Experience. With this, you can increase your application and hire rate for hard-to-fill roles. Did you know that top talent stays available on the market for only 10 days?

8. Implement and use employee referral programs

Referrals are proven to be best employees! Referrals can improve your time, cost and quality of hire, and make your hiring strategy much more productive. Yet, many companies still don’t have developed strategies for employee referrals.This is another great way to use your current employee to help you find the best people. To start, use these referral email templates for recruiters, and start engaging your employees today!

GetApp‘s survey has proven that employee referrals take shortest to hire, and bring the highest quality job applicants.

If you don’t have ideas about how to reward good referrals, here’s our favorite list of ideas for employee referral rewards.

For more details about finding the right candidates, here is our 2018 guide for finding high-quality talent.

Turn Your Garden into a Profitable Business

For those who enjoy gardening, it can easily be turned into a source of profit, with some luck and dedication, sufficient to support the entire family. Here are some ideas which can help you start and get you going on your gardening adventure.

Grow an organic garden

The only reason why people buy from small-scale producers is that they believe that the food they buy is healthier than what they can usually find in their local supermarkets. This is your window of opportunity and the share of the market you need to fight for. Win the confidence of those who care about their health by producing and advertising healthy food. Mind you, if you enjoy gardening, the chances are that you yourself appreciate nature and you won’t consider growing any other kind of garden but an organic one.

Offer a variety

Think like a customer. They usually go shopping to a place that has everything they need. Try to be that place and offer a variety of fresh food. Grow the vegetables which are the most popular in your area, but not only that, grow herbs and flowers used for tea and spices as well as several kinds of fruit. You can focus on one thing and throw in some of the other ones but a variety of produce will bring a variety of customers.

Have a flower garden

Well, I jumped straight into it without even offering an alternative. Depending on the type of gardening you enjoy, you may opt for growing flowers solely instead of food. You can sell to florists or landscaping companies. You can even have your own stand or a flower shop. Traditionally, flowers go well with bees, so if you are growing an organic flower garden, perhaps you should have a couple of beehives and see how that works for you. Who knows, if your flowers are good for honey you can steer your business in that direction or simply expand. Beekeeping can be very profitable.

Make products of your yield

Apart from the garden produce, you can also make products for sale. Your Home-made tomato juice or jam will probably find their place in many homes. If you are growing herbs, you can dry them and pack them. You can learn a little bit about traditional medicine and make herbal-tea mixtures used to cure different health issues. You can make tiny booklets on what they are good for and why. Make scented candles and potpourri. These are something that people get attracted to and buy even if they do not need them.

Sell seeds and starter plants

Help other start their organic gardens by selling seeds of your plants as well as growing starter plants. You can do this while expending your offer without a lot of additional effort. You will most likely need a glass house for this if you do not already have one. Hoselink suggests making a separate irrigation system for what you are growing in the glass house as plants growing in different conditions require different amounts of water.

Sell compost

Do not throw anything organic away. While you are creating compost for your garden, create some extra to sell. You can offer it straight away to the customers interested in your organic seeds as you know that they will also do whatever they can to keep their garden healthy. Due to the period required for creating compost, the very beginning is the hardest, later on, they will have enough material and enough time to make their own, but in the meantime, you can be there to help them start and prepare the ground.

Once you decide what to grow and how you need to find the way to sell it and advertise it. In order to keep the process enjoyable, I suggest inquiring about the government regulations and taxes. You should take care of that first before you start selling. Once you have that taken care of, you should advertise locally and show off your offer at a local green market, have a roadside stand, sell to health food stores and restaurants. Perhaps you can even organize promotional events such as gardening lessons for children or making jam with elderly and choosing the best recipe.

6 Industries That Need Business Intelligence

Technological trends were always a game-changer in the industrial sphere. From the birth of the first personal computer to the expansion of the internet, every industry out there had to adapt to these technological breakthroughs at one point. Business intelligence is no different. Nowadays, with the market being so competitive, industries have to do whatever it takes to get an edge over their competitors. Business intelligence is one of those things that can give them an edge, especially in the domains of analytics, market and consumer analysis as well as security. So, without further ado, here is a list of six industries that benefit from business intelligence the most:

Retail industry

One of the biggest problems that plagues the retail industry today is theft. Namely, goods often get ‘misplaced’ somewhere between the time of the order to the point of sale. This is why BI is such an important tool in preventing inventory loss with its data warehousing. Now stores can keep close track of their supply chain and even check where these ‘leaks’ tend to occur, as well as which particular item is continuously getting stolen. As a result, stores can then use this info to make new measures and security procedures that can prevent such things from happening in the future and cut their losses significantly.

Food industry

Sustainability is becoming an increasing trend in the food industry. Here, business intelligence helps food industrialists find new solutions for old problems regarding the use of safer ingredients, eco-friendly packaging as well as general distribution. With its data mining and data collection tools, BI assists companies in researching new “green” technologies almost instantaneously. Today, a lot of people are very strict about the way their food is processed. Companies need to pay attention to their demands, lest they risk losing a huge portion of their clientele. Therefore, to no great surprise, there is a steady increase in quality control and yield management in the food production sphere.  

Telecom industry

Business intelligence in telecom industry is being widely used. Huge amounts of data are being handled each second with little to no margin for error. Being such a competitive market as it is, telecom providers need to find new ways of increasing their quality assurance. BI maintains data-processing to its utmost efficiency, providing powerful insight from the data collected. With this newfound knowledge, telecom companies can focus on anticipating customer needs as well as creating new customer retention strategies to get an edge over their competitors.

Oil industry

In the oil industry, business intelligence is used quite often to analyse geological data and seismic tests to predict where the largest oil deposits are. With the recent implementation of such predictive analyses, oil companies are getting an increase in profit which in turn lowers the price of oil. Likewise, BI is also used to monitor the constant fluctuation of crude oil prices in real time which allows the marketers to sell oil when prices get high enough, and fold when they are too low.

Fashion industry

The fashion industry is one of the most competitive industries out there. Decision making is absolutely vital for choosing the right kind of design that will eventually catch on like wildfire and become a global trend. This is where BI comes in handy with its analytical tools. It helps both buyers and marketers understand which target audience their consumers fit into. Thus, they gain the much-needed insight that will help them stay on top of their game. Excellent market awareness such as this can sometimes unearth the next big sensation which can help smaller companies make a breakthrough on the fashion scene.

Pharma industry

The main problem within the pharmaceutical industry is keeping track of the expiration dates of drugs which are kept in storage. Business intelligence software helps minimize the risk of an expired product ever leaving the shelves. This way, pharmaceutical companies can operate within safety parameters of health regulations. Also, another area where BI can offer its assistance is with the control of product patents. Sharing of patents will be a lot easier with the use of BI which will result in current patent laws changing drastically, enabling swifter FDA approval of new drug development.

To sum up, business intelligence can be a powerful tool for real-time decision making, analyzing the market and for keeping excellent track of data. It provides an advantage for companies over their opponents in almost every industrial sector and companies which learn to harness its full potential will be leading the pack in the near future for sure.